BHUBANESWAR: As the newly-formed councils in municipal corporations and municipalities/notified area councils (NACs) are all set to elect their deputy mayor and vice-chairperson respectively, the State government on Monday amended the rules to make the polls open on the lines of Rajya Sabha. The Housing and Urban Development department issued two separate notifications for immediate implementation of the new rule, which is similar to Rajya Sabha elections.
According to the notifications, political parties having won corporator, councillor or ward member seats in the recently concluded urban polls, will now be allowed to appoint agents. The agents with the permission of the election officer, will verify the votes cast by the elected members of their respective parties during the indirect elections for deputy mayor and vice-chairperson.
This means it will no longer be a secret ballot. The corporators, councillors or ward members will have to show the agent for whom they voted. The president or the general secretary of the State-level political party or State unit of the national party will have to submit the details of the authorised agent in writing to the election officer prior to the scheduled date of the election.
According to the schedule, the indirect election for the post of deputy mayor in Cuttack, Berhampur and Bhubaneswar municipal corporations will be held on April 8, 9 and 10, respectively, while that for vice-chairperson of municipalities and NACs will be conducted on April 7.
The move has come amidst Opposition allegations that the ruling BJD is resorting to horse-trading in several municipalities and NACs to elect its candidates as the deputy chairpersons. Direct election to the post of mayor/chairperson has thrown up contrasting results in many urban local bodies.The amendment will be crucial in ULBs where the post of chairperson has been won by one party, but the council is with the other.
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